My how things have changed since our last report… My girls and I headed to Cabo San Lucas for a week in the sand and sun. Of course there were a couple of fishing trips squeezed in as well. It was our first trip to Cabo and my first experience in Mexico. Beautiful scenery, great weather, friendly people, and good fishing. Not a bad place to visit I’d say. We’ll definitely be going back, and I’ll write about my fishing trips in more detail at a later date.
As for the task at hand… While we were cooking in Mexico, so was everyone up north. Go figure??? With sunny skies and temps hitting as high as the mid 60’s in some places we’ve lost most of our snow and ice conditions are changing as well. We haven’t had spring in a few years around here, and it seems to be welcomed with open arms from everyone I’ve talked to. The warm up definitely got the bite cranking on Chequamegon Bay, and Josh Teigen cashed in on the opportunity big time with some very nice mixed bag catches. He spent a half day with Peter, Mary, Jenny, Tanya, and Jessie working 40′ – 65′ of water. They put some big numbers on the ice including lakers up to 24″, splake up to 17″, cohos, whitefish, burbot, and smelt. How’s that for a day’s work? Jigging spoons tipped with shiners was all that was needed for one heck of a morning. Way to go guys!
Later in the week, Josh met up with his friend Andy Francis for some laker fishing in the Apostle Islands. They fished together for two days and spend their time focused on 150′ – 200′ of water using blade baits. Most of the fish they caught were in the 17″ – 24″ range. The largest they iced was a healthy 30″ fish that put a good stretch in the line for sure. It’s a good thing they got out there when they did. With warmer weather on the way Josh new that his days around the islands were numbered, and he took advantage of good ice, good fishing, good weather, and a good friend. Now that’s a good combination!
As the weather warmed up, Josh moved farther into the bay and found another mixed bag bonanza. Peter, Mary, and Bryce spent a full day chasing anything that would bite, and they were rewarded with a great catch of lakers up to 24′, browns up to 25″, a coho, and a 19″ king salmon. Now that’s a cool bonus fish! The fish had moved a bit shallower as they concentrated on 30′ – 65′ of water. Spoons and shiners were again the baits of choice. Nice work by a great looking family!
Josh spent last Saturday with Mike, Josh, and Ty from Texas. He said the fishing slowed a bit, but there were still enough willing fish for everyone to get in on the action. 30′ – 60′ was the target zone, and they landed lakers up to 24″ as well as a splake. Sunday brought more sun and warm temps, but the feeding binge that was going on over the past week had fizzled. Josh’s good friends Clint and Rachel were along for the ride nd they were able to manage a couple of nice browns up to 24″ in 45′ of water. The approach stayed steady with spoons and shiners, but it was evident that there were a lot of full bellies on the bay. I can think of a lot worse things than a beautiful day on the bay and a couple of fat browns on the ice. It’s all relative!!! Josh reports that ice conditions have dramatically been changing over the past few days and suggests staying clear from here on out if you don’t have first hand knowledge of where you’re going. Current areas and pressure cracks can become extremely dangerous, and it’s not worth the risk to drill a few holes. Get out in the garage and start cleaning that boat up. Open water will be here before you know it!
Aron Kastern’s hot whitefish bite slowed up last week, so he moved back into Chequamegon Bay to target some big pike. Late ice can be an excellent time to target this often overlooked resource. The bay is home to some bruiser fish, and this time of year historically produces some monsters. Pike are transitioning toward spawning grounds right now and can literally be caught in anywhere from 25′ – 10′ of water. Locate spawning grounds and work your way out to find fish. Tip ups baited with smelt or shiners as well as large jigging spoons will produce. CJ Compton has had one heck of a year, and he added a nice 40″ fish to his resume. Sharon Borowick also put a nice mid 30’s fish through the hole. If you like giant pike, this can be the time of year to cash in. Aron agrees with Josh however that ice conditions are deteriorating on the bay and this is not the time to explore new areas. Even experienced anglers need to use extreme caution, and please do not venture out there if you’re not with someone who’s on top of current conditions.
Aron also had a chance to get after the crappies on an inland lake this week. He reports that fish were holding in 24′ – 25′ and suspending 1′ – 3′ off bottom. Northland Mimic Minnows tipped with a minnow head are producing most of the strikes. We’re entering a time of transition for crappies right now as you’ll continue to find fish in deep basins, but some fish will begin to migrate towards spawning bays as the weather warms. Do your research, connect the dots, and you’ll find active fish. We still have 15″ – 18″ of good ice on our larger inland lakes, but Aron says that they are very slick. Make sure you have cleats or grabbers on your boots. Shorelines with southern exposure will start to pull away as the days get longer so make sure you bring an ice bar and check the ice before you venture out. ATV, Snowmobile, and foot travel is good, but it’s probably time to leave the cars and trucks at the parking lot. A little exercise never hurt anyone!!!
Just a reminder that all permanent ice shacks needed to be removed as of 3-15-15. Be safe out there everyone, and have a great week!!!